April 28, 2017 -2 Iyar 5777 - Tazria-­Metzora
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Yom HaShoah
Commonwealth Museum Field Trip
Family Learning
Yom Orchim
Spring Concert
In the Art Studio
Global Unity Torah
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Tues, May 2
3:00 p.m. Dismissal
Sun, May 7
Family Learning
10:15-11:30 a.m.
Fri, May 19
Yom Orchim

Tues, May 23
3:00 p.m. Dismissal
As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
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Dear Parents,

We had a wonderful week at school!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events.

D'var Torah

by Rabbi David Saltzman

כִּ֤י תָבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֛י נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם לַאֲחֻזָּ֑ה וְנָתַתִּי֙ נֶ֣גַע צָרַ֔עַת בְּבֵ֖ית אֶ֥רֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶֽם׃
When you enter the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I inflict an eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess.
In Parashat Metzora, we are assured that Hashem will grant us the Land of Israel as a possession. It's a little of a double-edged sword, as the same verse that promises possession also assures us that G-d will inflict a plague of tzaarat on the homes in the land. As the pasuk says, וְנָתַתִּי֙ נֶ֣גַע צָרַ֔עַת - and I will place a plague. It will happen.
Commentators struggle with this concept, as it seems to be a fact that this infliction will occur. Chizkuni says this disease is destined to occur because of something special that exists only in Israel.
כי תבאו אל ארץ כנען . . . . בשביל מעלת ארץ ישראל שהמקדש עתיד להיות בתוכה הוזקקה להיות נקיה וטהורה.
the reason why the Torah says that this plague is dependent on coming to the land is because the earth of the land of Israel is holy. It is holy because the Beit HaMikdash will be built in the land therefore the land needs to be clean and pure.
Chizkuni explains that Israel has a special status, since the Beit HaMikdash was going to be built some time after the people arrived and settled in the land. In order to house this holy habitat, the land upon which this temple was going to be built needed to be spiritually clean and pure. To effect that, the homes of the people received tzaarat in order to inform them to purify their behavior in the land of the Holy Temple. The Torah assured us that this would happen as a sign that people would sin and need to purify their behavior, but also as a promise that the Beit HaMikdash indeed was destined to be erected.
Ramban expounds similarly on this idea, and adds that because
מפני שלא יבא העניין ההוא אלא בארץ הנבחרת אשר השם הנכבד שוכן בתוכה . . .
. . . בהיות ישראל שלמים לה' יהיה רוח השם עליהם תמיד להעמיד גופם ובגדיהם ובתיהם במראה טוב, וכאשר יקרה באחד מהם חטא ועוון יתהווה כיעור בבשרו או בבגדו או בביתו, להראות כי השם סר מעליו.
G-d's presence permeated throughout the land. When a person sinned, Hashem removed Himself from that individual. His departure from a person minimized G-d's protection and influence and caused a disease ether to one's home, clothes or self.
Because G-d is in the land, it means we are closer to Him, which has advantages and disadvantages. The land throughout requires an extra level of purity from the people living in it. When that behavior does not meet expectations, G-d lets that person know through tzaarat so they can mend their ways. When acting appropriately in Israel, though, we enjoy a level of closeness and protection that we are unable to experience anywhere else in the world.
We should not take for granted that after 2000 years of not having independence in Israel, we have now been free to experience that special relationship and intimacy with Hashem for the last 69 years.  
Thoughts of the Rav

by Rabbi Dov Huff        

The Rav in this week's parsha discusses the ritual prescribed for curing a metzora, someone afflicted with tzarat (leprosy). Part of the ritual involves tearing the clothing of the  metzora and allowing their hair to grow. The Rav points out that this is similar to what an 
avel, a mourner, does upon losing a loved one. Not only that, but both are confined as well - the metzora to outside the city walls, and the avel to their home. 
The Rav says that although they seem the same, the two are fundamentally different. The metzora is taken from the camp and "badad yeisheiv" - must dwell alone. The metzora is isolated, removed from society. Not so the mourner. The avel, while confined, is not secluded. The avel receives visitors and is comforted by his friends. 
We also see this difference when it comes to a chag falling during these periods. For an avel, the chag interrupts the aveilut, because the avel, while mourning, is not meant to be disconnected. The chag does not, however, interrupt the period of seclusion for the metzora - he is isolated both from man and from G-d.
We can speculate as to what this says about the nature of the sin of the metzora. If the tzarat is brought on by lashon hara, we can certainly understand how this person has created their own isolation, given how their actions and speech have undermined the community.
Yom HaShoah

We were honored to meet a Holocaust survivor named Esther, from Boston, who escaped Nazi Germany and was part of a youth aliya group that emigrated to Israel in 1939.  Esther was only 14 years old when she left her family in Germany, but she described her excitement and lack of fear as she fulfilled her life-long dream of moving to what was then Palestine, Eretz Yisrael.  She was able to show us photos of her youth aliya group, and the children were thrilled to get a view of Esther as an energetic young teenager.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting 
In addition, a few students from grades 3, 4, and 5, under the direction of our shlichot, Chemdat and Moria, performed a skit, read poems, and lit candles in memory of those who perished in the Shoah.  The skit told of a group of Jewish children who were hidden in a Polish monastery during the war.  Afterwards, two rabbis from England came to the monastery in search of Jewish children, but were told that there were none there; none of the children there identified as being Jewish.  The rabbis returned at bedtime one evening and began reciting the Shema.  This evoked memories for the Jewish children there, who began to remember their background and were able to leave with the rabbis and lead Jewish lives once again.
For children in grades K-2, the topic of Yom HaShoah was covered within the classrooms through stories and activities. 

5th Grade Trip to Commonwealth Museum

by the 5th grade students

As part of the 5th grade social studies curriculum, we went on a field trip to the Commonwealth Museum. We reenacted the Boston Massacre Trial. We dressed up as judges, Redcoats, jurists, defendants, and witnesses. We learned that two out of the three British soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. We also broke into groups and did activities in each gallery. For example, we were tested to see if we would have been considered warlocks or witches. We also played an interactive activity to see if our rights had been violated in different situations. We walked through the archive room to view original documents and Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre - the only one in the world! Finally, we watched a video about democracy and the rights of all people. We had a fun and interesting time in this interactive museum. We look forward to our next trip, at the end of May, to Lexington. 


Final Family Learning on May 7

Come join families and friends for the final Family Learning of the school year next Sunday, May 7, in the Brener lunchroom from 10:15-11:30 a.m. Rabbi Dror Saadia will lead the group in learning about brachot. We will explore how the food that Hashem provides to us becomes ours through saying a blessing.
Those attending will have the opportunity for three hands-on experiences showing how altering food changes the bracha that we say. We will grind barley into flour, squeeze oranges into juice, and press grapes into grape juice. In each of these cases, we will learn why the blessing changes.
We hope to see you there!  
Yom Orchim is Friday, May 19!

Yom Orchim, coming up on Friday, May 19, is a special day when we welcome visitors into our school to "get to know Maimo." Invitations have been mailed to those grandparents and relatives who are already in our database. Please contact Ellen Pulda, epulda@maimonides.org, 617-232-4452 x423 if there is someone you'd like to invite who has not yet received an invitation. Remember, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors are welcome to be your child's guest. You may also forward the link to our registration page: http://www.maimonides.org/YomOrchim.

For questions about Yom Orchim, please contact Ellen at the above email or phone number.

Spring Concert May 22

The Maimonides music department will be holding its annual spring concert on Monday, May 22 at 4:00 p.m. in the Brener Gym.  Performances will include the combined second though fifth grade chorus, and combined third through fifth grade band, as well as the Middle School band.  Please e-mail Andrew Malkin at amalkin@maimonides.org with any questions. 
In the Art Studio

On Tuesday, students in third grade were introduced to our new Fiber Art center. They practiced skills related to beading, weaving, and stitching (embroidery). Next week, we will look at some examples of artists who use fiber processes, and we will introduce felting for those who are interested in learning more about this type of art.

Help Write a Torah

As you may have heard, there is a beautiful and inspiring initiative underway, a joint initiative of The Afikim Foundation and Israel's Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, to write a Global Unity Sefer Torah celebrating the 50th Anniversary of a Reunited Jerusalem. Jews everywhere can inscribe letters in the Torah, NOT with money, but with simple acts of chesed, everyday kindnesses that positively impact the lives of others. To see more information about this global initiative, please watch this 1-minute video!
Since groups may reserve blocks of letters, we've taken the opportunity to reserve 1000 letters for our Maimonides family.  Let's complete the Maimonides block in the Global Unity Torah and inspire goodness in the world in honor of Jerusalem! The custom link for our school's block can be accessed by clicking here. You may reserve letters for yourself and/or your entire family as a group. (All blue letters are available.) It only takes a minute. 
A digital file containing the names of everyone who participated and their acts of chesed will remain permanently with the Torah, which will be dedicated in Jerusalem on May 24, Yom Yerushalayim.  (There will also be a drawing for 3 round-trip tickets to attend the dedication!) 
Please challenge yourself to commit and record at least 3 acts of kindness by May 24 - actions that are manageable and within your reach. There is no chesed too small!  
Visit jerusalem50.org for more information, or go directly to our block here.
See What's Happening in the Other Divisions

Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at the other divisions' newsletters, please click here for the Early Childhood Center, or click here for the Middle and Upper Schools.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty  

Maimonides School | 34 Philbrick Road | Brookline | MA | 02445